How many hours each day do you spend online? And how much of that time is spend using Google? Google has become so pervasive that most of us probably use it on a daily basis. But if you’re only using it to do general searches – typing in a phrase and then sifting through the mountains of results that pop up, then you’re not searching as efficiently as you could.
Here are a few ways to make your Google searches quicker and more effective:
- Searching for an exact phrase? Just put the phrase you’re looking for in quotes. For example, “estate tax” will find only those documents containing that phrase exactly, narrowing your search considerably.
- If you need to find results with similar terms, use the “~” symbol. So, searching for advance ~medical directive will return search results for “advance medical directive,” “advance healthcare directive,” and “advance directive.”
- To exclude a term from a search, use the “–” symbol. So, a search for “law firm management -software” will give you results on the topic of law firm management that don’t include law firm management software.
- Need to do a quick calculation? Instead of pulling up the calculator, you can just type a calculation into Google’s search box using the +, -, *, and / symbols and Google will give you the answer.
- Google also has up-to-date, on-demand stock quotes. Enter the ticker symbol of the stock you’re looking for and you’ll get instant information.
- If you need the definition of a word, type “define:” and the word you need to look up. Google will give you a list of definitions, complete with links to various sources.
- To convert units of measurement – or currency – simply enter the conversion you’re looking for into the search box. For example, “10 kilometers in miles.”
- If you need to check the spelling of a word, Google is a great resource. Just start typing the word into the search box – the drop down box will let you know if you’re on the right track.
- You can limit your search to a specific type of source. For example, blog: “estate tax” will bring back blog posts concerning the estate tax, whereas, news: “estate tax” will bring back news articles concerning the same subject.
- Answer to life, the universe, and everything. Just for fun, type this phrase – in all lower case – into the search box. Google has the answer!
What search tools do you use to save time online?
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd., Ste. 240
San Diego, CA 92124